David M. Fitzsimons earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His examinations were in the history of United States foreign relations, United States history to 1877, United States history since 1877, and film studies (particularly the America war-film genre). He also has a strong background in Political Science, in which topics of special interest include political ideology, international relations, and voter ignorance.
He received pre-doctoral fellowships for study at Harvard University and served for several years as a visiting scholar at Brown University. Working at RISD since 2007, he has offered courses on the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and Cinematic Representations of the Vietnam War. He has delivered papers at numerous conferences, including annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association. Writing awards include the annual Stuart Bernath Scholarly Article Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, which honors one "distinguished scholarly article or chapter of an edited book in a given year on any topic related to diplomatic history by a scholar under the age of forty."
His skills as a grant writer fully financed his graduate education and won for the Providence Public School System an $837,000 award to improve social studies teaching in its secondary schools.
Research areas include the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the history of the American Revolution, the American founding, and the early American republic. He encourages students interested in in-depth research on most any topic in American history to speak with him about Independent Study Projects.